As the nation marks Dementia Awareness Week (15-21 May), two members of staff from Didcot Specsavers will be putting themselves through their paces to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society.

May 200 challenge

Dispensing optician Patsy Smiles and store manager Adela Garcia are each taking on a May 200 challenge to support the charity.  Patsy will be riding 200 miles on her bike, while Adela will be running 200 km. Both ladies can be sponsored by visiting

Wearing blue to raise awareness 

During the week itself, all of the staff at the store will be wearing blue to help raise awareness for the cause and will be offering specs MOTs (cleaning and adjustments) in return for donations to the charity.

A word from the store director

‘I always thought dementia was all to do with someone’s memory – but it is much more than that,’ said store director, Rukhsana Bi. ‘As well as raising awareness of dementia during the week we’re keen to raise as much as we can to support the Alzheimer’s Society too and so will be right behind Patsy and Adela with their challenges.’

Dementia Friends

Alongside the fundraising the Specsavers Didcot team are now qualified to better understand the needs of customers suffering from dementia, having completed the Dementia Friends training - an initiative run by the Alzheimer’s Society. Specsavers’ home- and care home-visiting teams – Specsavers Healthcall – are also completing the training.

‘My husband was diagnosed with dementia three years ago,’ said Diana Baker, a regular customer of the store. ‘I was very impressed to see Adela with a Dementia Friends badge on and said how pleased I was. 

'It’s a great comfort when you’re trying to cope with this illness that people are aware and will try to help.  The team are very understanding.’

Rukhsana added: ‘Being more aware of dementia is an incredibly positive development for our team and our offering to customers. By uncovering the truth about dementia it really opened my eyes to how at Specsavers, when performing our daily duties, we can all take a little time to support and care.’

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